YOUTH EDUCATION & LEADERSHIP
At the Y, we believe that a successful future for children and teens begins with caring adults who make them feel loved, competent, happy and healthy. That’s why Y staff and volunteers are also mentors and role models, sharing a part of this very important responsibility of coaching our youth to realize who they are and what they are capable of achieving.
We believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to develop to their fullest potential. By modeling the YMCA’s core values---Caring, Honesty, Respect and Responsibility---we guide adolescents and teens through programs such as Leaders Club, Youth Leadership, Counselors in Training (CIT), Leaders in Training (LIT), and S.O.S. (Students of Success) Achievers which promote a genuine concern for others and encourage people to treat everyone like they would like to be treated.
Counselor in Training (CIT) & Leader in Training (LIT)
Summer day camp and summer resident camp environments provide a unique opportunity for youth to build leadership skills, particularly in assisting counselors with younger campers. The goals of CIT and LIT programs are to teach the general skills of leadership that can be used at school, home and community (not just at summer camp.) For younger camp leaders (ages 13-15), the curriculum includes working with younger kids at camp, but can include community components like volunteering at senior centers or YMCAs.
Counselors-in-Training or "CITs" are the oldest campers who typically want to apply for a job at camp the next summer, maybe as a Jr. Counselor or some other supporting role. They need to learn more specific skills for working with kids and co-workers, and more experience planning and leading activities. Both programs give kids age-appropriate challenges that build their skills, confidence and capacity for working with people of all ages.
Want to know more? Inquire at the front desk of your local Y or at our resident camp, YMCA Camp Potawotami to learn more about these youth programs. You may also register on our Summer Day Camp page.
Free 7th Grade Memberships
We offer a free seventh-grade membership to all youth in Allen, Wells, and Whitley counties. Our commitment is to nurture and impact the lives of our youth through what can often be a difficult and challenging time; the stage where they are no longer children but aren’t quite an adult either. They make choices about sports they want to play, people they want to spend their time with, activities they want to participate in, and how they spend their spare time.
To learn more about free seventh-grade memberships, click here.
Hope for Youth
Hope for Youth is an initiative by the YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne that focuses on providing safe places and great role models to young people. The services we provide at the Youth Services Bureau (YSB) help to keep youth out of the juvenile justice system and keep them attending school. YSB also runs a runaway prevention program called National Safe Place. Services are expanding with the addition of a Youth Advocate to give additional mentoring and coaching to young people. Learn more about Hope for Youth here.
Integrative Arts Program
The YMCA’s year-round Integrative Arts Program provides opportunities for creative expression as part of some of our after school and pre-K programs and the Renaissance Pointe Y Summer Learning program, thereby enhancing the experiences of youth enrolled in any one of the programs at no extra charge. The Y collaborates with local artists and arts groups who teach lessons in creative arts disciplines such as music, dance, drumming, photography and creative writing. To register, contact your local YMCA branch.
The YMCA Leaders Club, for youth in grades 6-12, teaches teens leadership training and emphasizes the importance of social responsibility and service to others. With adult advisors, teens have role models and mentors who positively impact their lives as they grow in their desire and ability to be a positive force in the community. For more information or to register, contact your local branch.